Word of mouth advertising – it’s not almost a cliché, it IS a cliché. But it’s one we must be mindful of, because it’s the one thing in advertising that not only hasn’t changed, but is even more important today than ever.
With the Internet and digital advertising, Social Media and Dealer Reviews, word of mouth advertising rules. Everything we say and do can be magnified and broadcast literally to the world.
A local dealer has a website that receives thousands of potential customers a month. It is has been called the first point of contact for a potential customer, not the dealership facility itself. But even that is passing.
The dealer may be putting videos on YouTube. My company has a thousand videos on YouTube that received over 60,500 views. Today is May 21st and already this month, our videos have been watched over 3500 times.
If a dealership has a Blog, it may be receiving hundreds of readers per month. Their Facebook page possibly receives 500 to a 1000 daily vistors, and they may have a thousand followers on Twitter that pass their tweets to thousands more. What impressions do they get from these interactions?
When a potential customer looks on Google, they may find you on the first page. That’s well and good, but what are they seeing there? Near the top, they see your Google Places page with reviews (good and bad). Those reviews may take them to other review sites such as DealerRater.com or Yelp where they will see more reviews (good and bad).
The telephone has always been one of the best ways to communicate with customers. We have learned scripts and ways to deal with objections, requests for prices and project ourselves professionally over the phone. But email and texting create new problems. Projecting personality, concern, and influence becomes more challenging. And monitoring these exchanges can be difficult if not impossible.
What every dealer, manager, salesperson, and service writer should understand today is that is all about the people we touch with our communications, marketing, and interactions. With the Internet and digital communications, we have ALL become public figures. One slip of the tongue, one poorly written email, or one thoughtless text can become headline news the next minute.
This is not a bad thing. It creates opportunities for dealers. Operate in a transparent manner with the customer’s best interests at heart, and you have the advantage. Strive to exceed the customer’s expectations, and handle problems and disappointments with concern and you can be a hero. After all, our customers ARE our business. They support us and our families.